Petite giants and modest marionettes: The animated dreams of Royal de Luxe

Posted by Ian on Mar 23, 2008 in blog

Some have questioned the wisdom of the social economy of France. Others have more resilient Francophobia. As a small giant’s step towards reconciliation, I offer the work of marionette street theatre company, Royal de Luxe. Practicing since 1979, this band of devotees of the art of mechanical animation have amazed hundreds of thousands with their giant marionettes, enacting scripted walks around cities throughout the globe.

The brain child of Jean Luc Courcoult, Royal de Luxe’s work challenges our understandings of space, scale, time and the possibilities of human achievement in the arts. The above clip is from ‘The Hidden Rhinoceros’ which was performed in Santiago, Chile in January 2007. Another astounding achievement is ‘The Sultan’s Elephant‘ which was performed in London in May 2006 which saw menageries of large scale animal marionettes take over the streets of London in a grand tour through the city. The hunderds of operators, garbed in European courtly attire, conjure up a feeling of drifting into a dream of Gulliver, but they also potently show the success of French government funding for the arts. The sheer magnitude of such projects goes to the credit of the European social endeavour to inspire and and support unprecedented artistic achievement.

Royal de Luxe has no official website or PR front, so for the time being, news of their work percolates through the wires. Watch this space for any upcoming events I can find for you…

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